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What customers expect from back to school shopping

As retailers are all too aware, the back to school shopping season has already begun. However, since lockdown, shopping trends have started to shift. We have put together 4 issues for retailers to be aware of about back to school shopping, and how to tackle them.

The majority of shoppers searching for back to school supplies will be heading in store

Rakuten Advertising has noted that approximately 77% of shoppers plan to do their back to school shopping in-store with almost half of them (49%) exclusively shopping in brick & mortar stores. This suggests that shoppers are eager to return to stores rather than rely fully on digital channels so retailers should prepare for high footfall and ensure they have enough associates in store to provide help, answer queries and complete transactions whenever necessary.

Customers are worried about stock issues 

The National Retail Federation recently noted that 25% of back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers have already started shopping, most likely, according to Deloitte, due to the expectations of stockouts. Deloitte also suggests that 77% of shoppers will trade brands if their preferred brand is not in stock. Customers appear to be happy to shop elsewhere if they cannot find what they want in store. It’s a good idea for retailers to find ways to encourage cross-sell opportunities in store if they find their stock starts to become limited.

Shoppers will be expecting new experiences in store

McKinsey has discovered that 80% of shoppers want personalisation from retailers and that 76% of shoppers get frustrated when this doesn’t happen. Additionally, Mintel has predicted that shopping and retail experiences will be less about buying items and more about engaging and playing with products in store. With 12% of shoppers having already used live interactive video streaming when purchasing products online, it is evident that back to school shoppers view shopping in store less of a chore and more as an activity to immerse themselves in. It’s important that store associates are equipped with the tech they need to support this with a rich, personalised, positive customer experience.

Back to school shoppers are likely to spend more but want to pay less for individual products

Deloitte claims that the back to school market has grown 24% since 2019, despite unprecedented disruption. Rakuten reports that almost 80% of shoppers plan to spend under £415 this year on back-to-school supplies. However, 64% of back to school shoppers typically plan shopping around retailer sales events to get items at a lower cost. This is likely because 84% of shoppers expect to see higher prices during back-to-school shopping this year so will look for discounts and promotions to buy more for the same outlay.

Interestingly, Google also noted an emerging trend of higher abandonment rates but also 39% of shoppers build one or two wish lists per month suggesting shoppers are waiting for products to be on offer. Armed with this knowledge, retailers should consider creating personalised promotions for their customers based on their wishlists to encourage them to check out, spend more and also persuade them to visit again.

Why choose Red Ant?

At Red Ant, we view our clients as partners. We are invested in helping their stores flourish rather than just selling them the software to do so. As an employee-owned company, we do better if our clients do better, guaranteeing our commitment to helping your stores succeed. We make sure RetailOS supports and empowers your retail operations for the long term. By ensuring our retail platform is updated and improved to meet the needs of our clients, retailers can be reassured that the solutions we provide are up to date, forward-thinking and future proof. Our award-winning tech is proven to maximise sales, deliver exceptional customer service and drive operational performance.

Our omnichannel retail platform brings essential retail apps together with your existing systems, content, and data into a single colleague hub and is informed by retail data analytics. With everything in one place, RetailOS permits your store associates more time to do what they're best at – delivering brilliant customer service.

Take the first step and contact us for a demo today.

What customers expect from back to school shopping in 2022

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